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May 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 10)

Biological Macromolecule Crystallization Database

  • Organization, extensiveness of database
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Hanging drop, sitting drop, pacing-back-and-forth-because-my-protein-won’t-crystallize drop… If you are on the brink of a crystallization nervous breakdown (or if you want to avoid such a state), visit the Biological Macromolecule Crystallization Database. This is your one-stop shop for crystallization conditions that have been compiled from literature. Currently, the database houses 14,372 crystal entries. Properties of the crystals are included alongside the method of crystallization, conditions used, and reagents needed. It would have been nice to include photos of the crystals resulting from the various conditions, but I guess they didn’t want to ruin the surprise. Of course, this site doesn’t solve the problem (the big problem) of knowing which conditions to use on a previously uncharacterized macromolecule. It does save you the time you would spend sifting through the literature, though, so you can get back to the important work—biting your nails and hoping you’ll see crystals.
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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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